Hockey entered the Canadian election campaign on Thursday, as Bloc Quebecois leader, Gilles Duceppe floated a trial balloon to gain some notice in Quebec and rekindle an age old debate in Canada.
Duceppe while campaigning in the province stated he felt the time had come for a team from Quebec to compete on the International stage. His plan would be to bring back only those players from Quebec, to don a blue and white uniform of Team Quebec and take to the world stage to battle the Russians, Americans, Swedes and of course les autres the Canadians.
It's an issue that comes up from time to time in Canada, usually at times of stress between the province of Quebec and the rest of Canada, or as in this case when an the silly season of an election coincides with the hockey season.
Hockey Canada was quick off the mark to say the idea was a non starter, as Director Bob Nicholson said that his Team Canada included Quebec. Nicholson said that under current international hockey rules it was unlikely that Quebec would be allowed to send a separate entry to international events, unless they were an independent nation and form its own national hockey federation.
Nicholson went further and stated that in his long time experience with Hockey Canada, he had seen many hockey players from Quebec join the Canadian team in International adventures and wear that Canadian sweater with pride.
Vincent Lecavalier risked a character attack by the followers of Duceppe when he said he was one player that enjoyed playing for the Canadian team and didn't see anything on the horizon to change that situation. As Lecavalier put it, "I'm part of Team Canada and Canada as a whole, I'm proud to be Canadian".
An answer which Duceppe shrugged off as claiming everyone is entitled to his opinion.
Numerous NHL players, coaches and officials jumped to the defence of a Team Canada which included Quebeccers, all for one and one for all. Duceppe's dream team concept also got shot down by the IIHF, spokesman Syzmon Szemberg who said that a Team Quebec was a long shot.
As it turned out, Duceppe's sideshow grew wearisome for him as he found he was answering more questions about a mythical hockey team than about the present election campaign. He grew impatient with the reporters fixated on the hockey issue and not showing any interest in his other plans and ideas.
Kevin Lowe put things into proper perspective when he suggested that the politicians, stick to politics. Some of us suggest that the hockey people start working in politics, God knows things couldn't get much worse!
For the last word on le tempete du hockey, we turn to the Globe and Mail and a letter to the editor on the situation, for Duceppe it was a case of He Shoots, He Misses!